Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

“There are a few rules I try to live by. One is that you should always treat others the way you want to be treated. The Lord tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. So who is my neighbor? It could be anybody. If I see someone in need, I’m going to do whatever I can to help that person. It’s just who I am.” – Miss Maple

At the age of 76, there are no signs Miss Maple is slowing down. In fact, she’s just getting started. Her first experience volunteering at Nashville Rescue Mission was in 2010, and over the past six years, she has been spending every Tuesday she can at the Mission serving those in need.

“It started with a group of friends from my church,” said Miss Maple. “We signed up to volunteer and as they say… the rest is history. I’ve met some of the nicest people while volunteering at the Mission. We’ve become quite friendly and will take time out to ask about each other’s health and family.”

Miss Maple spent 36 years of her life in service to the poor and needy as a nurse and nurse practitioner at Matthew Walker Clinic. She might have retired, but she wasn’t ready to rest just yet. “It’s always been important to me to help people who really need it,” said Miss Maple, “There are many more people in need and there are still things I can do to help.”

A proud graduate of the Seventh-day Adventist School of Nursing at Riverside Hospital, Miss Maple has overcome her fair share of battles. While she has never faced homelessness, she has survived breast cancer. Her experience gave her a new perspective on what it means to need care and compassion—something she’d spent her whole life giving to others—and intended to keep on doing.

“I can’t say I knew a whole lot about the Mission before volunteering,” said Miss Maple. “I do remember receiving mailings around the holidays and I would give, but I had never been there. There were occasions when I would hear about the Mission from a patient at our clinic, but outside of that, my experience was very limited.”

But after that first time volunteering, Miss Maple was hooked. “I look forward to Tuesdays. Going to the Mission each week centers me. I’ve made friends. I’ve developed a sense of community that extends beyond my church. I’m glad I can still help people.”

“When you hear the name Miss Maple, there are lots of words that come to mind, such as committed, faithful, loyal, and dependable,” said Joy Plank, director of volunteer services at the Mission. “She treats her role as a volunteer as someone would treat a full-time job… if she’s not going to be here, she will call to let someone know. She brings such joy to those around her when she’s here serving, she knows when she’s not here she is missed. We are thankful for Miss Maple and so many others who give of their time and talents to serve those in need.”

Want to love a neighbor in need?

Visit this link and find out how you can get involved and give back.

Mission in My Words: Chris Tomlin

Mission in My Words: Chris Tomlin

Growing up in the small town of Grand Saline, Texas, I never would have imagined my love for music would one day take me around the world. Through the many different people I have met and cultures I have experienced, my eyes and heart have been opened to the beautiful diversity of God’s creation and the wideness of His mercy for us all.

Along the way, I have had the privilege of meeting wonderful people who are doing profound work through responsible organizations in every region across the globe. But in recent years, now living with my wife, Lauren, and our two girls here in Middle Tennessee, it is inspiring to see the work of Nashville Rescue Mission connecting my fellow Nashvillians to the needs of our neighbors here at home.

About ten years ago, I learned that Bible study groups at the Mission had begun using my music as a soundtrack for their gatherings. I have always hoped that my platform might promote something more than just record sales, so to hear that some of my songs were helping framework the physical, emotional, and mental recovery of those whose journey had placed them under the care and tutelage of the Rescue Mission was deeply honoring. And then to think that this music might also aid the Mission in its Gospel-sensitive motive to spiritually restore those broken down by life right here in our zip code, I was so moved.

Sometimes it’s easier to support someone across the world rather than help our neighbor next door. When we remain on the outside of people’s lives, it is easy to judge their circumstances, but when you really get to the bottom of someone’s story, you realize there is so much involved in what brought them to the place of needing help—things in and out of their control. We have all needed a helping hand. So when we take the time to get to know the details of each other’s stories, we remember that the grace God has extended to us is the same grace He extends to every single person.

I love how Nashville Rescue Mission reflects this grace by becoming a lighthouse of refuge for the most vulnerable citizens of this city. Rescue is at the heart of the Gospel. And the Mission is simply inviting us to do our part in helping each other find home.



With ten albums, 15 No. 1 radio singles, a GRAMMY® Award and eight additional nominations, three Billboard Music Awards, 21 Dove Awards, a platinum and four gold albums to his credit, Chris Tomlin is among the most well-known and influential artists in contemporary Christian music.

What does Thanksgiving Mean to You?

What does Thanksgiving Mean to You?

What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving?

Is your first thought of a plate pilled high with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie? Is it of family near and far that will gather together, talk, and watch a game or a parade? Does your picture also include a time of thankfulness toward God?

Now imagine if you had no idea where your next meal was going to come from. Picture your life without family or friends. How difficult would it be for you to envision being thankful in that moment, especially toward God?

“It’s hard to have hope when you’re homeless and hungry,” said David, a guest of Nashville Rescue Mission for the past six months. “When you’re living on the streets, it’s almost like you’re invisible. People avoid making eye contact with you. But at the Mission, the staff and volunteers smile at me, speak to me, and treat me like a welcomed guest. It’s amazing how much that lifts a person up.”

David is not alone. Each day over 800 men, women, and children, find more than a meal at the Mission—they find hope. This hope is because of you.

Over the course of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Mission will serve over 6,000 meals to the hungry, homeless, and hurting. Preparing meals on a scale this size is a major undertaking. It requires thousands of pounds of turkey, potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, and lots of pumpkin pie.

“So much time and effort goes into preparing and serving an extra-special Thanksgiving meal,” said Rev. Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of the Mission. “Volunteers
get here early to prep for the day. Every turkey must be carved, every potato chopped, every pie sliced. Tables are covered with tablecloths. Walls are decorated with notes of hope. Uplifting music is playing in the background. Thoughtful steps are taken to make it an extraordinary day—filled with special memories for those who call the Mission their temporary home.”

It may be true that Thanksgiving
is more than a meal, but food is still one of the great joys of the holiday. It’s hard to imagine someone that knows the value of a full stomach better than those who are experiencing homelessness.

“I came here because I was homeless and I was hungry,” says William. “The Mission makes sure I have plenty to eat. But they have given me so much more than a meal. I enrolled in their Life Recovery Program and now I am excited about my future. Food is temporary. I’ll be hungry again tomorrow. But the chance for a better life… knowing that God loves me no matter what—you can’t put a price on that kind of hope.” It is proof positive that with each meal served with a smile, a touch, a tender word—a message of love, acceptance, and hope is shared.

“Thanksgiving is just one day out of 365 that helps make the Mission a light in the darkness,” said Cranfield. “We want our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness to enjoy a special Thanksgiving dinner—made and served with love! But after they’ve been fed, we want them to leave with something much greater—
hope for a brighter future through Jesus Christ.”

 It’s through your generosity the homeless and hungry can find a traditional Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings at the Mission. But it doesn’t stop there. Every day, those in need can find the comfort of nutritious food, essential clothing, and safe shelter—all because of your heart for the homeless, your compassion for the poor. Will you help us continue to provide food, clothing, and safe shelter to our neighbors? Visit to help now.



Guitars and Glory

Guitars and Glory

When your day builds up and your loving cup

Is as empty as they way you feel inside

No it won’t come back till you change your act

Do a turn around and get a handle on your life


If there ever were a thesis to Grant Boatwright’s late life, this stanza from his tune “You Can’t Have Your Hate and Jesus Too” would certainly summarize it. A professional composer and musician from Nashville, Grant lived all of his life playing music. His first bang into the business was with Red, White, & Blue (grass), a bluegrass group formed with his first wife, Ginger, and signed by Mercury Records in the 1970s. As Grant continued to gain popularity in the country music business, other large names noticed and invited his talent on their albums. Grant recorded with known artists like Roger Miller, Paul McCartney, Michael Martin Murphy, Vassar Clements, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Earl Scruggs, Carter Family, Johnny Cash, David Alan Coe, Crystal Gayle, Allman Brothers, Robert Lee, Tonya Jo Newsome, Dickey Betts, Charlie Daniels, and many others. His guitar can be heard on movies like Deliverance, the ABC hit Nashville, Dillinger, and Neil Young’s Prairie Wind. Throughout the years, Grant became an esteemed, respected musician in Country music. He seemed to have it all: success, talent, and a family.

When marital problems with his second wife began to spiral out of control, Grant couldn’t take fighting in front of his 6-year-old daughter and walked away from the marriage and left everything. The pain from his separation led Grant to heavy drinking, and heavy drinking led him to Nashville Rescue Mission.

As a guest at the Mission from 2011-2012, Grant lived the last few years of his life homeless, but not hopeless. He developed friendships with staff and other guests who stayed at the Mission. Grant possessed community at Nashville Rescue Mission. His case manager, Ken, asked if Grant wanted help, and drove him to Elizabethtown, KY for a three week rehab. The week after he returned sober, Grant fell and broke his femur in an accident and he remained in the hospital until his death in January 2013.

Homelessness does not discriminate. It befalls a successful musician, it battles with the former CEO, and it strikes the good of heart, the influential schoolteacher, and the affluent salesman. Homelessness has no bias. It can happen to anyone.

That is why Nashville Rescue Mission continues to fight for those that many label invisible. We know stories like Grant Boatwright’s exist within each person we serve. We know there is pain, hurt, and suffering that each person may carry. But we also know there is healing and hope in the love of Christ. We believe in the power of sharing God’s love to His children. We believe He fills your loving cup until it overflows with abundance. Grant was given the opportunity to regain control of the hope in his life at Nashville Rescue Mission.

Thanks to donors like you, Grant was able to meet Heaven with reconciliation in his heart in the warmth of a hospital bed instead of the bitter January wind under a Nashville bridge. Will you continue to give others like Grant hope for today, tomorrow, and eternity?


So just pass a lot of love around

And a helping hand or two

It won’t be long until it turns

And comes right back to you


In memory of Grant Boatwright, April 19, 1946 – January 17, 2013